The PDC World Championships kick off this Thursday with 72 entrants from across the globe competing for the £1.5 million pound prize fund. Afternoon and evening sessions will be played throughout the tournament with international qualifiers having to proceed through a preliminary round before reaching big stage.
Following a year without a major trophy Phil Taylor will be looking to steer his career back in the right direction. Many have said the 54-year-old has lost some of his enthusiasm in a testing past few months but the man from Stoke will be determined to prove the doubters wrong. Taylor will face the winner of Saturday evenings preliminary round between Keita Ono and Alex Tagarao.
Taylor’s former protégé Adrian Lewis is another big name that seems to have slightly fallen by the wayside in recent months. The two time back to back World Champion’s only victory came in the Auckland Masters, but after reaching three of four major semi-finals during November Jackpot’s confidence must be at an all time high. We all know the magnificent darts Adrian Lewis can produce when at his fluent best, it’s just a question of whether he can recollect himself in time for Wednesdays meeting with Jan Dekker.
Ricky Evans faces arguably the toughest first round tie of the Target Darts team in his match up with Simon Whitlock. Evans was absent from Ally Pally last year following an impressive debut in 2013 which led him to the round of 32 where his was eventually dumped out by Mervyn King.
Stephen Bunting’s performances are difficult to call at the best of times, but the 2014 Lakeside champion will be quietly confident ahead of Sunday evenings tie with Jyhan Artut. ‘The Bullet’ has proved to be quite a hit in this year’s Premier League, avoiding the drop in his inaugural year in the 10 man round robin tournament. German qualifier Artut has experience a plenty on the big stage. World Cup, World Champion, Grand Slam the world number 55 has it all and could prove a tough task for Bullet to dispose of.
Finally we take a look at the yellow peril Dave Chisnall. The St Helens hotshot has had a mixed year in terms of results and is yet to make a major semi-final. He proved what he can do with a sensational 9-darter at the Civic Hall in the Grand Slam, but consistency could be the key if he is to make strides at the Worlds. His first round opponent will be Austrian youngster Rowby-John Rodriguez. The 21-year-old is certainly capable of matching Chisnall stride for stride but I would expect Chizzy’s experience to shine through.